The conclusion of the rock art survey (part **)

Santa catarina island

TRACCE no. 11 – by Rodrigo Aguiar


The conclusion of the rock art survey (part **) in Santa Catarina Island and adjacent islands – Brazil.
The petroglyphs suffer constant aggressions, from walking over the engravings, mark the petroglyphs with a piece of rock, painting made with oil paint… .


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Petroglyphs with final fine touch in two polishing levels. Green arrow - 1º level, blue arrow - 2º level.

Petroglyphs with final fine touch in two polishing levels. Green arrow – 1º level, blue arrow – 2º level.

em Brasileiro | Part *

The aggression forms

The petroglyphs suffer constant aggressions, from walking over the engravings, mark the petroglyphs with a piece of rock, painting made with oil paint; to explode rocky walls full of petroglyphs looking for treasures (Rohr 1969) – many treasure hunters believe that the petroglyphs are indication signs made by pirates.

The survey data

The survey resulted in the cataloguing of 564 engravings, grouped in 32 sites from 14 locations. Of these 564 engravings, two are from Joaquina Beach and Armação do Sul Beach, which are extinguished sites and their petroglyphs are in the Homem do Sambaqui Museum.

“Net-like” formation. Dots and circles inside the meches can’t be represent the caught fishes.

Concerning the technique used in the elaboration of the petroglyphs, 522 were made by polishing (92.7%), 36 by pecking (6.2%) e 6 (1.1%) showing both techniques at the same time.

There is not a distribution pattern, the petroglyphs are sometimes in horizontal blocks and sometimes in vertical blocks.

All of them were found in external littoral coast, exempting the Caminho dos Reis site, one track uniting Galheta Beach to Barra da Lagoa community.

Curiously, we have knowledge that inscriptions with thin engraved lines (1 to 1,8 cm) frequently show a greater consuming than the others of breadth engraved line (with more of 2 cm). The deepest engrave was 8 mm, but the majority had about 1 mm. The engraved area has a variation of petroglyphs with 10 x 10 cm to panels with more than 5 m of length, covered by symbols.

Sometimes we found them on the ground of Rock-shelter, or in plateau higher than 8 m. Why some of them were practically hidden as long as others could be seen of the sea when the island was coasted? That’s is a question remaining without an answer.

The circle is the predominant element, totaling 218 engraves; followed by a variation of waved lines and zigzags, with 62 engraves; and after this the variations in obtuse angle, with 41 engraves.

Petroglyph from an extinguished site of Joaquina Beach. Example of variation in obtuse angle.

Petroglyph from an extinguished site of Joaquina Beach. Example of variation in obtuse angle

There are also the triangle in series and anthropomorphic representations as figures with a lower rate of appearance, but present in several sites.

There are no data proving clearly a diachronism followed by stylistic systematic differentiation. Few superimpositions were found to be analyzed.

Apparently they all belong to the same style (geometric abstract), exempting the petroglyphs from second site of Galheta Beach, which are composed by unregular lines of free form.

The stylistic perception applied on the petroglyphs goes from simple pecked motives, without a major care, to others with fine final touch in two polishing levels.

Comparative board betwen petroglyphs and ornamental motives of carijó painted pottery. Nº1 - Santinho Beach. Nº2 - Corais Island.

Comparative board betwen petroglyphs and ornamental motives of carijó painted pottery. Nº1 – Santinho Beach. Nº2 – Corais Island

Similarity among petroglyphs and cultural elements of 3 traditions

Until now it is impossible to asseverate which culture (or cultures) is responsible for this rupestrian manifestation. If cultural elements of the 3 traditions are analyzed (hunters and collectors, itararé, guarani), it is possible to realize that any of these could be responsible for the confection of the petroglyphs.

The body painting is present in all 3 traditions. The hunters and collectors possess whalebones engraved showing geometrical motives (however found in sambaquis of Laguna city, sited in south of the Santa Catarina State). Some elements which are present in itararé tradition also suggest similarities, as for example the circular habitation and fusiform adorns. Despite being the less studied, the guarani (carijó) tradition is the one that presents the most propitious evidence to a comparative analysis: the painted pottery, were some elements show a large similarity with the ones represented in the petroglyphs.

Because of the very few data about this 3 traditions it becomes risky to interpret such symbols. Maybe more studies in this area could bring to light more appropriate elements in trying to interpret the symbols and relationship between traditions and petroglyphs.

If we risk some inference, we cant correlate some elements to fishery. The “net-like” formations can be associated to net used in fishing and some circles and dots appearing inside the meshes can represent the caught fishes. The dot series can be related to some kind of counting, maybe phases of the moon, which are references to fishing periods.

I hope the data contained in this research to be useful for future deeper researches and maybe to find out who were the authors of the Santa Catarina Island petroglyphs and what message they possibly could be transmitting us through times.

 

Rodrigo Aguiar
Rua Álvaro Cardoso No 47
Estreito – Florianópolis
Brasil

Acknowledgements

My sincere acknowledgements to people who contributes in an important way to the realisation of this research:

  • dr. Andrea Arcà
  • mr. Alexis Acauan Borloz
  • mr. Edmar Hoerhan
  • dr. Alceu Ranzi
  • mis. Roseneide E. Furtado
  • And my family

REFERENCES

ARCÀ, Andrea & FOSSATI, Angelo. 1997. Tracing The Past. TRACCE: On Line Rock Art Bulletin Nº 5.
BECK, Anamaria. 1972. A Variação do Conteúdo Cultural dos Sambaquis – Litoral de Santa Catarina. São Paulo: Tese de Doutoramento, USP.
METRAUX, Alfred. 1948. The Guaraní. Handbook of South American Indians. Vol. 3 – The Tropical Forest Tribes. Washington: Government Printing Office.
PIAZZA, Walter A. 1965. O Sítio Arqueológico do Rio Tavares. São Paulo: Separata da Revista Dédalo Nº 2.
ROHR, João Alfredo. 1958. A Jasida da Base Aérea de Florianópolis. Pesquisas Nº 8. São Leopoldo: Instituto Anchietano de Pesquisas.
ROHR, João Alfredo. 1959. Pesquisas Paleoetnojgráficas da Ilha de Santa Catarina – Nº2. Pesquisas Nº 8. São Leopoldo: Instituto Anchietano de Pesquisas.
ROHR, João Alfredo. 1962. Pesquisas Paleoetnográficas na Ilha de Santa Catarina e Sambaquis do Litoral Sul-Catarinense – Nº4. Pesquisas Nº 14. São Leopoldo: Instituto Anchietano de Pesquisas.
ROHR, João Alfredo. 1977. O Sítio Arqueológico do Pântano do Sul. Florianópolis: Edição do Governo do Estado de Santa Catarina.
SCHMITZ, P.I.; DE MASI, M. A.; VERARDI, I.; LAVINA, R.; JACOBUS, A. L. 1992. Escavações Arqueológicas do Pe. João Alfredo Rohr – O Sítio Arqueológico da Armação do Sul. Pesquisas Nº 48. São Leopoldo: Instituto Anchietano de Pesquisas.
SCHMITZ, P.I. 1959. A Cerâmica Guarani da Ilha de Santa Catarina. Pesquisas Nº 3. São Leopoldo: Instituto Anchietano de Pesquisas.
SILVA, Sérgio B. 1988.O Sítio Arqueológico da Praia da Tapera: Um assentamento Itararé e Tupi-Guarani. Porto Alegre: Tese de Mestrado da UFRS.

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2 comments

  1. Renan da Silva says:

    Olá!
    Parabéns pelo seu trabalho, amigo!!
    Sempre tive muita curiosidade pelas inscrições rupestres e tive a sorte do destino me trazer para morar na ilha de Florianópolis SC e poder conhecer de perto este magnífico presente que foi nos deixado pelos povos antigos da região. Conhecia algumas inscrições na praia onde moro no norte da ilha, que são localizadas e apresentadas por um hotel que hoje existe (em uma área MUITO próxima a sítios arqueológicos). Sabendo por boatos que no costão norte teria mais inscrições resolvi então começar a explorar a área obtendo ótimos resultados. Acabei achando algumas por pura intuição (talvez dos antigos índios moradores ou pura coincidência). A energia do ambiente onde se localizam as marcas rupestres são absurdamente fortes, alguns lugares com natureza feroz, onde o selvagem continua igual como à milênios atrás, imagino eu. Em algumas regiões a maré precisa estar baixa para poder atravessar com segurança sem estar portando equipamentos de segurança. O que comprova a escolha, na maior parte, de lugares “audaciosos” onde exigia certa coragem para ficar horas e mais horas marcando pedra com pedra. É incrível também o “jogo” e combinações feito com megálitos, onde formam pequenas cavernas de abrigo e outras usando como calendários em alinhamentos solar marcando a entrada de novas estações do ano.
    Uma ilha com tantos registros históricos reunidos… ficaria a noite toda comentando sobre. Em fim, cuidemos dessas raridades todas para que assim como até hoje estão presentes continuem presentes por mais muitos e muitos anos.Gratidão a natureza perfeita!

  2. Renan da Silva says:

    Hello!
    Congratulations on your work, my friend !!
    I have always been very curious about the rock inscriptions and I was fortunate enough to be brought to live on the island of Florianopolis SC and to be able to know this magnificent gift that was left to us by the ancient peoples of the region. I knew some inscriptions on the beach where I live in the north of the island, which are located and presented by a hotel that exists today (in an area VERY close to archaeological sites). Knowing by rumors that in the north coast would have more inscriptions I decided then to start exploring the area obtaining excellent results. I ended up finding some out of pure intuition (perhaps of the ancient Indian dwellers or pure coincidence). The energy of the environment where the cave marks are located are absurdly strong, some places with fierce nature, where the wild remains the same as millennia ago, I imagine. In some regions the tide must be low so that it can cross safely without carrying safety equipment. This proves the choice, for the most part, of “audacious” places where it took some courage to spend hours and hours marking stone with stone. It is also amazing the “game” and combinations made with megaliths, where they form small shelter caves and other using as calendars in solar alignments marking the entrance of new seasons.
    An island with so many historical records gathered … I would stay up all night talking about. In the end, let us take care of all these rarities so that as they are present today they will continue to be present for many more years.
    Gratitude the perfect nature!

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